Barbara Frasca of Gulfport vividly remembers the time she visited an auto dealership when she was shopping for a car 12 years ago. Her husband was not with her, so she went in alone.
“They said, ‘Come back with a man,’” she recalled. “I said, ‘I’m not coming back at all.’ It’s not funny. It’s still being done today.”
Experiences like that are the reason Debra and Mark Augustine, owners of Reed Car Care in Gulfport, decided to hold a workshop on basic auto maintenance for women.
“They really want to know” about their cars, Debra Augustine said after the workshop held Saturday, January 16. She said she was not surprised when some 35 women called to sign up, though fewer actually attended.
Frasca was one of those present. And she took copious notes.
“It was very informative,” she said, adding that it covered things people tend to not think about, like items they should always carry in their cars. These include, for example, rope, a first aid kit, pen and paper, contact information, important medical information and the phone number of one’s car repair shop.
“Lots of women get overcharged because they’re not knowledgeable,” said another participant, Gypsy Phillippe, also of Gulfport. She said women don’t need to learn to fix their cars, “but at least we can talk intelligently.”
Among the main things she learned at the workshop: that the car’s air conditioner filter needs to be replaced periodically; that car insurance may cover catastrophic repairs; and that the alarm button on the car fob can be used to draw attention if there’s an intruder in your home or if you have a medical emergency.
Jake Freije of General Motors’ AC Delco auto parts division, who conducted the workshop, said while he makes presentations to all kinds of people – students, elderly drivers and others – women are “special.”
“Women are the best audience,” he said. “They pay the most attention.”